Health Matters: Why We Focus on Wellness in the Workplace

By Kristen Harris

When Catherine and I started Portfolio Creative we set out to create the kind of company we'd want to work for. Because, well, we do work here, and so do other people. We both came from demanding environments and knew how important it would be to take care of ourselves in order to do our best work for clients and talent. 

In the beginning, this just meant taking time to exercise and eat a healthy lunch. Over the years tactics have changed but the goal remains the same. Today we offer a wellness-based healthcare plan to all qualified employees, providing access to a health coach, gym memberships, and incentives for completing health-oriented tasks. We've always offered the same health plan to both our internal team and the talent we place because we want all of our to people feel healthy and cared for, regardless of whether they're in our office or working at a client's location. This was (and still is) highly unusual in our industry, and we're proud of that.

We also bring in speakers on health-related topics, encourage people to take time to rest or workout, keep a stocked fruit bowl in the kitchen, and more. We believe wellness isn't one big action, it's a series of small activities that add up. People spend a large portion of their time at work. As business owners, we realized the positive impact decisions we make can have on the lives of our people and their families. One of the decisions we've made is to focus on wellness at work. 

So, is this all worth it? It takes time, money, and effort to have a wellness-focused workplace. We have to organize the speakers and health coach, buy fruit, and give people time to go to the gym. Is it just a nice thing to do, or is there a business case for focusing on wellness in the workplace?

There is plenty of research that makes the business case for workplace wellness, and we agree. Participating in a wellness-based healthcare plan helps keep premiums as low as possible both for employees and the company. This has a direct financial impact on the business, each individual, and their family, and is something every employee can contribute to and benefit from. This wellness-based plan sets us apart as an employer and is a benefit that is highly valued by our team members.

We believe there are other reasons that wellness belongs in the workplace, beyond potential financial savings. We truly like the people we work with and want them to feel valued and cared for, to be their best physically and mentally at work and at home. When people feel good they're more connected, engaged and do better work. Think about the last time you went to work with a cold...it's hard to do great work when you don't feel good. People who feel well need fewer unplanned days off, get more done and are more engaged in their work. When our people feel good they can take better care of our customers. At home, they take better care of themselves and the people that matter to them.

Having a wellness-focused workplace isn't a single financial line item, it's a series of small actions and items that add up to greater business success. It's one of the things that continues to make Portfolio Creative the kind of company we'd want to work for, and we think it's worth it.